Michael Reilly

School: History & Archives

Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth Mullins

Agricultural Memory and Archives: A Case Study of Teagasc – The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority

Archives, the small subset of an entity's records which are permanently preserved, are the building blocks which individuals, organisations, and communities can use to ensure accountability, to create a sense of identity, and to safeguard their culture and history. Using a qualitative action research approach this project focuses on agricultural archives, particularly on the archives of Teagasc, Ireland’s national agricultural agency. The project will survey existing historic records over ten years old which represent a cross-section of activities: scientific and economic research, advisory services, horticultural and agricultural education. Using a range of traditional and more innovative archival methods, the project will evaluate existing records, process particular collections of archives, and explore ways of promoting them, such as by creating an online exhibition and catalogue. The project represents the first ever systematic archival investigation into the records of the Irish agricultural sector. It will bring numerous benefits. Practically it will identify the records that have survived which are illustrative of the wider industry. The manner in which these records are processed will serve as a model for the future professional management of the records of Irish agriculture. The project will also result in the creation of the first ever catalogue of selected collections, and the generation of associated web pages. From an academic perspective the use of Teagasc as a case study will ground the theoretical elements of doctoral research in a practical setting. This will add validity and authenticity to findings, and will thus contribute significantly to the emerging academic discipline of archivistics in Ireland.

Funding Information: Funded by an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship